Caroline Mignot, a French writer who I like quite a lot, recently wrote about this little wine bar in the 9th. “I’m surprised that I haven’t written about it before,” she said, and I know exactly how she feels. Autour d’un Verre is a place I’ve visited many times and one that I often recommend. But I hadn’t ever written about it, beyond a little mention in BlackBook, because it’s just so incredibly simple. Sometimes, though, that’s exactly what you need.
My first visit happened four years ago with Phyllis Flick, a longtime Paris resident who I “met” on the eGullet discussion forum. We shared a bottle of Morgon (was it the Foillard?) and some sausage & mash. To my delight, she became a friend. I’ve returned many times since because I like the wine, the friendly dog, the laid-back atmosphere, and the price: €20 for two courses at night. I also love that I can walk in without a reservation.
To be clear: the food is very simple. It’s like eating in the home of a friend who knows how to entertain a crowd. Cheaper ingredients are stretched and adorned and the preparations are simple: sausage & mash, pork belly & mash, etc. & mash. Last week I broke from tradition and sampled their Thai-style steak. I was expecting a train wreck, but this was one of the best Thai dishes I’ve eaten in Paris. It’s true that’s not saying much, but the plate was still a delightful surprise. On that visit, I so enjoyed the glasses of wine that we ordered – a sparkling Vin de Table (Cuvée Jeux de Bulles) from Domaine Mouressipe and a Bourgogne Chitry from Vini Viti Vinci, €4 each – that I took home the bottles.
One nagging downside: I could stand a little more warmth from the team behind L’Autour d’un Verre. The waiter is friendly enough, but I haven’t once managed to squeeze a smile out of Kevin, the American who owns this place with his Finnish wife Mari. The natural wines on offer (including many small production Vins de Table) deserve an ambassador who is willing to explain them.
In sum, L’Autour d’un Verre is a great place to go when you haven’t booked ahead, when you haven’t a lot of money, and when wine and friends are the evening’s main attraction.
L’Autour d’un Verre
21, rue de Trévise (rue Richer)